Rest in Power Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Commentary Human Rights

Rest in Power Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Jessica Mason Pieklo

The country lost a giant in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing. She was 87.

For more on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, check out our special report.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. This country has lost a giant. 

The 87-year-old justice had recently been hospitalized with an infection not even a week following the close of the Supreme Court term. It was Ginsburg’s second hospitalization in two months, but no additional word of her health had circulated until Friday night when it was announced she had passed.

In a statement, the Court said Justice Ginsburg died at her home in Washington surrounded by her family.

According to reports, just days before her death, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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In an interview with Rewire.News prior to her death, former Ginsberg clerk Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser (D) remembered her as a generous yet demanding boss. 

“I will say she is the most demanding boss I have ever had,” Weiser said. “She really, truly expected a high caliber of legal writing, cogent, succinct legal analysis. Every single word and every opinion she’s ever written has been one that has been used purposefully.”

It was that intentionality that will mark Justice Ginsburg’s legacy on the Court. From challenging IRS regulations that unfairly harmed men who were caregivers as a way to move the entirety of the law toward a theory of gender equality to admitting when she was wrong about Colin Kaepernick, Justice Ginsburg was always thoughtful, deliberate, and it showed in every bit of her life. 

“Few individuals have had such a dramatic and lasting effect on a particular area of law as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who directed the work of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project from its founding in 1972 until her appointment to the federal bench in 1980,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement following her death.

“During the 1970s, Ginsburg led the ACLU in a host of important legal battles, many before the Supreme Court, that established the foundation for the current legal prohibitions against sex discrimination in this country and helped lay the groundwork for future women’s rights advocacy. By 1974, the Women’s Rights Project and ACLU affiliates had participated in over 300 sex discrimination cases; between 1969 and 1980, the ACLU participated in 66 percent of gender discrimination cases decided by the Supreme Court.”

“In her honor we will be dedicating the ACLU Center for Liberty as the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Liberty Center,” Romero said.

Ginsburg was first appointed to the federal bench in 1981 by President Jimmy Carter, who nominated her to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In 1993 President Bill Clinton nominated her to be the second woman on the Supreme Court.

It’s hard to process what happens next. President Trump will nominate her successor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is already promising that nominee will get a vote. It seems very likely that her dying wish will be completely disregarded by an impeached President credibly accused of sexual assault and jammed through with Senate Republicans all too eager to help rip her legacy to shreds. It is even possible Republicans will rush to seat her replacement in time to hear key cases involving Trump abuses of power. They’ll likely nominate a woman and try and call it feminism. Trump recently suggested former Brett Kavanaugh defender and abortion rights foe Judge Sarah Pitlyk is under consideration, as is Judge Amy Coney Barrett, another sure vote against equality. 

This is devastating.

This is a developing story.